Ford Underpromises, Overdelivers By Shoving 350 Horsepower Into Badass All-Wheel-Drive Focus RS
Ford had our curiosity when it announced that the 2016 Focus RS would come to the United States with “well in excess of 315 horsepower.” Now the company has our attention with the confirmed news that the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine in the monstrous hatch will have a pulse-racing 350hp (@ 6,800 rpm) and 350 ft-lbs of torque (@ 3,200 rpm) on tap when production ramps up later this year.
Those numbers far eclipse that of the “mere” Focus ST, the previous range-topping version of the Focus lineup, which generates 252hp and 270 ft-lbs of torque. All of that power is harnessed by a six-speed manual transmission — which should be welcome news to purists that still haven’t fully embraced dual-clutch transmissions — and all-wheel-drive (AWD).
And even if you aren’t that proficient with driving a stick shift (although we think that you should be if you’re considering such a serious machine like the Focus RS), Ford has thrown in some added tech so that you won’t make a fool out of yourself on the street. If a Focus RS driver manages to stall the engine, Stall Recovery will automatically restart the engine without the driver having to put the shifter in neutral and manually restart the engine.
“We knew we wanted to put start-stop technology on the RS,” said Ford Performance Europe Engineering and Vehicle Manager Tyrone Johnson. “So we said, ‘What if we went one step further, and controlled for engine stall at launch using the same technology?’”
The Focus RS’ AWD system supports Dynamic Torque Vectoring, which was developed by GKN, and can send up to 70 percent of engine power to the rear wheels. However, thanks to the twin clutch packs at the rear axle, up to 100 percent of the torque headed rearward to can be sent to either rear wheel depending on track conditions. Ford says this arrangement practically eliminates understeer and provides for up to 1G of lateral acceleration.
The Focus RS has a base price of $35,750 plus destination fee and is expected to top $45,000 fully optioned.